When to jump off…

A horse is the projection of peoples’ dreams about themselves–strong, powerful, beautiful–and it has the capability of giving us escape from our mundane existence.
– Pam Brown

A few weeks ago my boyfriend and I said our goodbyes. We didn’t know we were saying them, at least I don’t think we did, but we were. In our own way the road of our relationship had come to a fork, and we had to choose a new direction. I had made up my mind over the weekend following this pending change that it was time to let go. And, this time around (this time being our second and final) I was fine. I WAS FINE.

I texted my horse trainer early that Saturday morning: I had a blowout with my boyfriend. Haven’t been sleeping well. Not sure when I’ll make it to the ranch to ride. She texted back: Are you okay? How bout we go for a trail ride around 11 and we can talk?

A trail ride? Really? My first trail ride?! And, like my dog, Percy, who’s so easily distracted from life by his little orange rubber ball, my mindset changed from contemplation to anticipation.

When I arrived at the ranch I was a little nervous, and still a bit melancholy about the past two days’ reflections, but I was also excited. A chance to get out and see the world in a whole new way. We saddled up and began to walk down the street, heading towards a dirt trail. Yes, I was nervous, but I was also in awe. My trainer directed me on proper trail etiquette and helped me become aware, acutely aware, of my surroundings, what the horse sees, things I should look for, sounds to listen to, and ways to move calmly but quickly to keep the horse and myself safe.   Then, about half way through our route it happened: the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant sirens started. Yes, oh my gosh, yes, we had totally forgotten they were testing the sirens! Oh, geez! I asked (more like begged) my trainer, “What do we do? Do we jump off? Do we dismount?!?” The sirens screaming louder as they circled towards our street, so piercing I could barely focus, seemed to continue forever.  With steadfast confidence she said, “No, your horse is acting fine. He’s not acting scared. Stay on. Just stay on, and let’s keep moving.” And, we did.  And, he was.  Fine.  FINE.  And, as we sauntered into the ranch, the horrible screeching well behind us by then, I felt an immediate peace.

Last week one of our trainer’s other students, E,  was learning to trot on a horse that is fairly young.  This girl is quite an accomplished rider already-she truly has the horse spirit within her and very little fear.  (She’s Maycee’s hero.)  During her lesson, as she broke from the walk to the trot something happened, and the horse spooked and began frantically galloping around the pen.  Little by little things fell apart, and she lost her reigns but managed to stay on the horse (I tease her that she has a behind made of glue).  Seeing that he had no intention of stopping, and our trainer couldn’t catch him, she shouted, “Jump off! You’re going to have to jump off!”  And, E did, to her safety.  Landing in the (luckily) soft and silty dirt, apparently face down, as she looked up she was smiling.

This past weekend our trainer taught E how to ride without the reigns, just in case of emergency.  Practicing on an older lesson horse, she cantered around, wondering how she was going to keep her balance, reigns tied in a knot and laying across the horn of the saddle.  One arm off, raising it up….another circle around…keep going…kiss, kiss…other arm off…raising it up.  She didn’t need to jump now.

She was flying.


I haven’t been writing as much, Readers, but it’s not for lack of desire or material.  Lots of “new” going on, lots of tired nights, but life is wonderful .  So, remember, it’s  important to know when to jump off, but it’s just as important to know when to stay on and let yourself fly.  And, while you’re flying…give a chuckle…because it’s grand.


Author: singleworkingmomswm

I love to write, and I love raising my daughter. The two combined have prompted me to create a blog about being a single working mom. Life's a trip, and I tend to take the windy roads.

8 thoughts on “When to jump off…”

  1. Loved your lessons! Trail riding is wonderful, bareback is also fun. Wish I could still ride, the first time I ever blew out a knee was on the back of a horse on a trail, the horse got spooked and ran me into a tree trying to scrape me off. Your horse was much better behaved.

    Sorry about the fork in the road. I hope you are fine. I hope it is for the best for you.

    1. Thanks, Valentine! Yes, I feel lucky to be learning on the horse I have now. He is a very seasoned show horse and has been around a lot of acitivity, although, not so much on the trail. But, he did wonderfully, and thus, kept me safe as well. There will always be risks when horse back riding, but to me, they are worth it (at least we’ll see how I feel when I finally fall off, ha, ha…) And, as for the fork, yes, it is for the best, and I’m doing well. Thanks so much, again, for the support.


    1. Beth! I didn’t know you blog. :-) I need to get your blog name and url. Thank you for reading, and I’m so glad you enjoyed the piece. Please keep in touch, and again, send me your blog info so I can log onto yours. 🙂 Miss seeing you!


  2. Aw this is so wonderful, both the story of your trail ride and the tale of the brave little girl learning to jump off and ride without reins. I think your attitude rocks!

  3. SWM…. You have been flying since the first time I read one of your posts. You totally know when to jump off and you are FINE. Indeed you are so FINE. Great post. Hope your having a wonderful weekend. Hugs from NY xoxox

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